2. THE ROVER (2014)
Set in a remote stretch of Australia “ten years after the collapse” (as an opening title informs us), the stark sci-fi-tinged thriller, The Rover, introduces a world of arid reduction, where civilisation is hanging by a thread. The closest thing to the law are the army patrols that move from town to town, and the outback populace has responded in kind, namely with violence and debauchery. When the stony, enigmatic Eric (Guy Pearce) has his car stolen by a crew of criminals, he teams with the slow-witted but sweet dupe that they left behind (Robert Pattinson) to get it back.
Though the mention of cars, criminal gangs, and an Australian postapocalypse whip up instant memories of Mad Max, The Rover is no punked up, dystopic vision. This is an urgent, horribly familiar world with a smashed-to-bits moral compass. Thrilling, tightly characterised, and punctuated with neck-snapping jolts of violence, The Rover is a powerful meditation on the fragile nature of society itself.
“I wanted the movie to feel terrifying,” writer/director, David Michod (AnimalKingdom), told FilmInk of his sophomore effort. “I wanted it to feel intimidating and menacing. When you amp up the craziness of a world left after a post-apocalyptic event, you push the audience away. I wanted it to feel immediate. This is a movie about anger. The characters are angry about what has happened to the world. They’re suffering because of what’s being engineered all around them.”